Red Eye Chicago

Hollywood breeds weight issues


According to experts, true anorexia nervosa affects only 0.5 percent of the female population, but the spectrum of eating disorders is believed to afflict 3 percent to 5 percent. University of California, Los Angeles professor Michael Strober, an expert in the field who has dealt with a raft of Hollywood figures, says that for anyone with a predisposi­tion to eating disorders, coming to Hollywood is like a drunk trying to live inside a bar—extremely challengin­g.

Characteri­stics of anorexics include fear of change, difficulty with self expression, a need for order and routine, and a strong need to accommodat­e.

“That temperamen­t is a challenge for people who exist in the industry,” Strober said.

Bulimics too exhibit the extreme insecurity and selfdoubt that make Hollywood a rough environmen­t, Strober said, but there’s “more compulsivi­ty, more obsessiona­l concern with detail. They feel very, very needy, and they crave attention and are very appetitive­ly oriented. They need cigarettes. They need alcohol.”

To put it mildly, no one in Hollywood is looking out for these women.

“It’s just, ‘Can you get to the next audition?’ ” Strober said. “If somebody has this illness, once they start to lose weight, they’re on this slope that’s very slip-

a pery. It’s like an alcoholic who continues to have drink here or there.”

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